Q+A with Alan Good from King Ludd's Rag

Alan Good gave us officially our favorite answer to an interview question ever: “Nah” when asked about common mistakes writers make when submitting. Go us! King Ludd’s Rag is a rarity among journals today. It’s a print-only zine for long-ass stories (known as long-form fiction in some circles) that pays writers $100 a story. So if you want to read it, you’ve gotta hold it in your hands like the good ol’ days. And if they love your story, you get money and careful attention. Who doesn’t love money and attention? (Maybe Alan because he does so much of this behind the scenes for the simple joy of doing it). We love all of that. So if you need a good home for your long-ass story, read on for some insights into King Ludd’s Rag’s editorial process.

If you could sum up your magazine's vibe in six words or less, what would they be?

lofi zine for long-ass stories

Editors notoriously don’t get paid much (if at all) and tend to take a lot of flack. So, why do it? Is there a moment you can remember in your time with your magazine where you thought: ‘this, this is why I do it’?

I'm still not getting paid, right now I'm just happy if we have enough where I don't have to pay for the website out of pocket, but I guess I just do it because I love it. I really enjoy working with writers, laying out pages. Suppose I don't enjoy the promotional aspect as much, but I do what I can. Nothing against short fiction, but I really prefer stories that have room to move around and develop and get weird, and with so much fiction being online, where to be fair, it's tough to sit through a 7,000-word story, there's not that much room for longer stuff. So I also love when I find a story that fits KLR, and the writer is like oh my god, I didn't think this would ever get published. When I started this, we were paying $50 per story, and now we're up to $100, so there's a lot of satisfaction in that part too.

Who are four or five writers you see as typifying the kind of work you look for in your magazine?

At this point, we've published twenty writers in KLR. So any of them.

Are there any common mistakes writers make when they submit to your magazine?

Nah

The lit mag scene is massive. What did you want to bring to the community with your magazines that is different from what others are offering?

The most important thing for me is for this project to be a writer-centric thing, where writers are happy not just because they actually got paid and found a home for a story that's too long for a lot of other outlets, but also because of the care that goes into the whole thing. I really edit the stories very closely, while trying not to be heavy-handed. The authors have final approval of everything, and they get a PDF to review before we publish. Which is different, no offense!, from a lot of the places I've published in. I want to be the type of editor that I'd love to work with as a writer, if that makes sense.

What is your ideal cover letter to see for a submission? Simple and sweet? Professional? A few kind words peppered in?

Simple and short

Is there a specific kind of project you haven’t seen in your current submissions that you’d love to see come in?

We've never had a theme or anything, but I believe a better world is possible, and I'd really love to see work that shows us what that looks like.

Are there magazines you see as literary siblings, mentors, aspirations, besties, etc.?

Taco Bell Quarterly

What do you see as a deal-breaker in a submission, regardless of the quality of the writing? (For example, poor formatting, vulgarity, etc.)

I don't know, we've gotten lucky in that only nice people ever want to work with us. I would never reject something because of typos or poor formatting; if the heart of the story resonates with me, I'll put in the work. One of the most common reasons I pass on something is I don't have the budget to take more work. Second to that is something's just not to my taste. I can't think of a single instance, but racism/sexism/transphobia etc. would be obvious deal-breakers. Also nihilism.

Is there a part of the submissions process that writers tend to fret over that isn't all that important?

I don't know, maybe response time. Sometimes I respond fast, sometimes slow, and a lot of times, it depends on how much money I have free. There are a couple stories I'm inclined to accept at the moment, but I have to wait for the money to free up.

If you could bring one writer back to life to write a story for your magazine, who would it be, and why?

Jerome K. Jerome. I'm not interested in publishing big-name authors (sorry JCO), but JKJ was an early influence on me and not such a high-profile guy at this point that he might be a good fit.

What is a recent piece published in your magazine that you think would make a great short film?

"Saving the Futuro" by Zach Kocanda (in King Ludd’s Rag No. 6)

Many writers struggle to decide what to say about themselves in a bio. What is an example, either made up or from a writer you've published, of the ideal literary bio?

"Eric Williams lives on the lithified remains of a Cretaceous Seaway in Austin, TX." For what it's worth, long bios with a long list of credits can be a pain to format in print, so your typesetter (which at KLR is me) is likely to appreciate a short and sweet bio.

There are the well-worn (for good reason) pieces of advice like "read submissions guidelines" and "read the journal you're submitting to," but do you have any other advice for prospective writers looking to get their work published?

If it works for you, there's a good chance it'll work for someone else. Just gotta find them.

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King Ludd's Rag

"A print zine of long-form fiction. Each issue contains two stories selected by editor Alan Good. If you're published in KLR you get $100 and a copy of the zine."
Response time
3 months
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$100
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